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What made you choose being an editor?

I want to become an editor. #editor

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Subject: Career question for you

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Tim’s Answer

Hi Emily, It was a combination of desire, training and serendipity. I knew I wanted to be in publishing, but not exactly in what position. I picked up a community college degree in graphic design, then went on to get a BA in journalism. I landed a job as an editorial assistant at a medical publisher. I got to see wonderful editors working to publish amazing books and decided that was what I wanted to do. It will sound a bit corny, but the books these men and women were publishing were helping to train medical students, residents and practicing physicians how to be great doctors. Talk about a positive impact job. Those books and the hundreds I have published as an editor have helped make patients lives better and even helped save a few lives. I have been in medical publishing over 30 years, over 20 of those as an editor. I have loved almost every minute of it.

My advice, not that you asked for it. You will need a college degree. I really believe almost anyone will do. Journalism was great for me. I had to write every week, got to meet amazing people and helped tell their stories. After you have your degree, jump in, both feet. I might suggest you find a topic that interest you more than a specific job. I love being a medical editor, maybe you love exploring space, crafts, or something else. Try and find a position in these areas. Then look around and see what you might love doing. You might end up doing something you never dreamed you would. In my world there are copyeditors, managing editors, developmental editors, production editors, and I am an acquiring editor. In other worlds there are video editors, audio editors, and many more. They are all awesome jobs for the right person.

Good luck.
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Nicole’s Answer

What a great question to ask. It seems like everyone has different paths they take to get where they are and asking others for their stories will better help you in understanding that you too may take a different journey in your life.

While my job title is not an Editor it is part of my job description and the role I play within the company. I actually did not go to school to become an Editor. My Bachelors and Masters degrees are in Special Education administration, I taught in the classroom for 9 years and then began working for an educational company and then moved over to another educational learning company. My first role with these companies was in the Services field where I predominantly taught teachers how to teach math and worked with school district leaders to transform math education. Yet the past year I have been working in the Product Development field where I review manuscripts of content that we will be pushing to publish in print as well as in digital format.

I agree with Tim, that it truly is about the experiences you will have. Whatever degree you pursue, continue to collect those experiences and build out your resume with them. You never know which experiences will land you your next position.
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Ruth’s Answer

Like some of the others here, I found my way to Editorial organically. My undergraduate degree is in Technical and Professional Communication (though the name later changed to Professional Writing and Information Design). What my degree taught my was, quite simply, to learn how to learn technology and teach others about it. Specifically, most Tech Writers end up in some form of Documentation Design, which I hear is a very stable and lucrative career. However, what I enjoyed the most in all of my courses was true editing. And as you might have observed, the editorial process (or aspects thereof) is baked into . . . well, everything! You might be drafting documentation for a new app, but you still have to check your writing. You might be designing a webpage using html or css, but you still have to check your work. You might be writing a paper for English Lit, but . . . you get it. : ) I think if you like critical thinking, varied work, and problem solving, editorial is the right move for you.
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